A large area of Cork was flooded in November 2009 when the River Lee burst its banks and flood depths of 1m were experienced over a large area of the city. Numerous buildings belonging to University College Cork were affected. Flood Control International has been involved in a number of high profile projects which have been designed and awarded since the flooding to protect buildings to up to 1.8m flood depth.
Flood Control International was involved in advising the best design of the flood protection measures as part of a €10M redevelopment of this high quality sports centre. A range of solutions was implemented that would allow disabled access and a level threshold without compromising flood protection.
Where the flood wall was integrated into the external wall of the building, flood doors were provided with perimeter seals that inflate when required. These allow dead level unobstructed access at ground level.
The main entrance to the building reception was a large open space, and so a 12.7m long automatic flip-up flood barrier was specified. With the barrier in the ‘down’ position, the top surface was treated with a non-slip finish to the client’s colour requirements, to tie-in to the surrounding paving. The barrier raises by push-button using a hydraulic ram, before sealing with an inflating seal around its perimeter edge. This solution allows the outside entrance to remain open and operational for the longest time, with the system raising in 1 minute 20 seconds to a height of over 1m when required.
A number of openings in the perimeter flood wall was required, and ten lift-hinged flood gates were installed which lift before swinging open/ shut – again to maintain a level access.
Where the flood wall was constructed close to existing windows in the structure, we installed flood-proof glass flood barrier windows in the flood wall to maintain light and visibility, each 2.4m wide and 1.2m high. The tinting of the windows was agreed to tie-in with the new glazing of the remainder of the pavilion.
Where the requirement for access is to be infrequent, removable flood barriers were installed which are normally left erected but can be fully removed when needed.
The Glucksman Gallery is an architectural highlight of Cork, and so the flood protection measures for this building had to be agreed in fine detail with the architect and client, so that their effect on the aesthetics of the building would minimal and in keeping with the existing finishes.
Runs of fully demountable flood barrier were specified that fit on top of a new half-height flood wall that incorporates seating areas within its protected boundary. The posts were specially designed to fit with the angled top of the wall, with special end-plates manufactured to fit with the limestone wall finishes. The top of the wall protects the building to a 1 in 10 year flood level, with the demountable barriers protecting further to the 1 in 100 level.
The openings within the new concrete perimeter wall had lift-hinged flood gates installed, so allowing safe level access when open, and the ability to rapidly and effectively close to protect the building from flooding.
A total of 60 openings were assessed as requiring flood protection following the flooding in 2009. Demountable ‘slot-in’ barriers are specified for individual doorways and windows. We designed special ‘low profile’ end channels in stainless steel, with cover plates to protect the seals when the barriers are not installed and to enhance the appearance. A number of channels and covers was also powder-coated to further minimise their effect on some of the building openings.
Lift hinged flood gates were again specified, as the only dependable floodgate that works on a dead level threshold.